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QR Codes – to scan or not to scan?

by Maggie Mahnesmith on October 14th, 2011
QR Codes

You’ve seen QR codes everywhere – in magazine ads, in grocery aisles, on billboards, direct mail pieces, clothing, buildings, cake frosting, etc. They are intended to extend an advertising campaign by directing the consumer to a video or website for additional information. QR codes may be everywhere, but are they an effective marketing tool?

Our insurance client has recently started using QR codes with two of their major local community sponsorships.

The client sponsors statewide high school football games, along with an event showcase in a major city where the goal is community goodwill. At both events, booths are set up and local representatives meet and greet attendees. The attendees receive free giveaway items and can register to win an iPad grand prize by either scanning a provided QR code or filling out a form. Thus far, there has been little interest in scanning the QR code. Instead, attendees would rather fill out the form because it’s being reported that most people don’t understand the purpose of the code and/or don’t own a Smartphone. In fact, although 83% of Americans have a cell phone, only 35% of the population owns a Smartphone according to Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. At the event showcase, 70 people registered for the iPad; only 28% used the QR code, while 72% filled out the form.

Based on our client’s results at these two particular events, it’s clear that QR codes are not being adopted by the general population. Early adopters are grasping the technology and using it for all kinds of promotions, but the average person on the street does not understand the purpose of the QR code, nor has any incentive to try it. Technology will continue to evolve and we are confident that the awareness of QR codes will increase. It’s just taking longer than we thought.


From → Media Buying

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